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184 - Merging Who I Was Supposed To Be With Who I Am
Episode 1848th October 2022 • Who Am I Really? • Damon L. Davis
00:00:00 00:55:54

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Heidi, from Silicon Valley, California, grew up walking on eggshells, crying a lot and "staying small" in her world despite being gifted. She found her maternal family guided by a somewhat famous reunion specialist who helped the reunion along.

Heidi says reunion can be weird and awkward for how much time has passed while an adoptee tries to get to know their biological relatives in the present. Her reunions are further complicated by the emotions of her birth mother and birth father being the opposite reactions to her return than she expected. This is Heidi's journey

Lyrics to Looking For Me (Lyrics)

Looking for Me (Heidi Frederick © 2021)

My life a blurry canvas, full of pain and sometimes numb

No voice, no choice, grasping for joy, yet slipping through my hands

So lost without direction, afraid to ask for help

full of fear and loneliness, days and nights all by myself

Silent struggle of a misfit, just trying to fit in

please tell me what to hope for, don’t let me down again

Missing peace, missing pieces, yet not a search for them,

I’m looking for me, to set me free, know who I truly am

Searching for places, strangers faces, no reflection found

was looking for them, yet searching for me

alone, yet in a crowd

If you could only know, my motive is so pure

Not looking to replace you, our relationship, secure

It’s not them I’m looking for, it’s me I long to know,

You chose me then, you choose me now, but I need to heal and grow

Can’t imagine, what they went through, so young and so alone

knowing she’s a part of you and suddenly she’s gone

They told you to move on, you’ll have more kids one day

It’s better not to hold her, just turn and walk away

Searching for places, strangers faces, no reflection found

was looking for you, but searching for me

still alone, yet in a crowd

Ties that bind, can’t be broken with false promised and empty words

After all this is your child, yet, she’s no longer yours

She’s spent her whole life wondering, if one day you would meet

no bitterness or resentment, not filled with rage or hate

With secrets and shame comes darkness, but courage and hope bring light

Walls come down, healing is found, not easy, but worth the fight.

My life, now a mosaic of brokenness and light

To rise and shine for all to see, to pass the torch of life

Searching for places, strangers faces, my reflection found

In my search for you, I’ve been set free

my soul no longer bound.

Searching for places, strangers faces, my reflection found

In my search for you, I’ve been set free

my soul no longer bound.

Who Am I Really?

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Damon's own story in print and audio:

Transcripts

184

ADD MUSIC FROM YOUTUBE

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[00:00:00] DAMON: The song you're hearing is written by today's guest, Heidi and her co-writer and the performer, Sean Farley. It's called looking for me. . And it's heidi's artistic expression for her feelings as an adoptee

COLD CUT INTRO

[:

I guess I have like empathy or something and maybe just, with some help from Pamela, like. Just understanding, you know, that it's not like an attack against me or doesn't have anything to do with my worth, but that's just how she thought of it.

SHOW INTRO

[:

Heidi says reunion can be weird and awkward for how much time has passed as an adoptee tries to get to know their biological relatives in the present and for how the emotions of her birth mother and birth father we're not the reactions to her return. She expected. This is Heidi's journey

OPENING

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[00:02:04] HEIDI: I have no regrets about having been adopted for sure.

And who I was placed with. But, you know, as with all families, there's the stuff behind the scenes. And so having become an adult and looking back and through lots of counseling, and it's always even hard for me to talk about, cuz you never wanna speak ill of your parents or family, but I know like in order to heal, you have to acknowledge it and realize it's not, you're not attacking them.

the sweetest, kindest person [:

You know, as you grow older and learn about adoptees, but so I, I didn't like have this tangible ball. I don't belong in this family feeling, but I was the baby. I was very guarded, very sad. My mom told me, like, when they brought me home, my hands were in little fists and. Stayed that way for a long time.

And I wouldn't let anyone hold me, but her and so yeah, it was just very, I just stayed really small, I would say just to like, stay out of the line of fire of things, but

[:

an example of what staying small means? Obviously it was a as an infant with balded up fists. I can envision that.

Mm-hmm but what does it mean for a toddler or a child in middle school to stay small?

[:

And like, I mean, I love my dad and I know he loved me and he had things that I don't even know about that caused that. But I. Just yeah. Trying to do things right. I cried a lot, like if, if I ever did get yelled at, that was my response and that's how I felt. mm-hmm and just, I feel like I just, I dunno, it's hard to explain.

I just felt kind of invisible and not important in the world. But what's kind of ironic is like, in, in school I was always like put in the gifted programs. And so I was smart. Like, I knew that, but I just felt like I just didn't belong anywhere. Like I, sometimes I felt like I wasn't real. Yeah.

And I always, I always thought about a birth mom, but she was not a person in my mind. It was an idea.

[:

[00:04:58] HEIDI: Yeah, like. [00:05:00] it didn't even Dawn on me until I much later in life, like, oh, there was a guy involved. There's a father too. Mm-hmm same

[:

It's funny. It is. I, it's funny that you say it that way, because as I reflect on my own experience, my mother always told me my adopted mother, if you mm-hmm, ever wanna search, I'll help you. And I can remember this in middle school, I think like maybe even elementary school. And I just don't remember actually thinking, oh yeah, we should go search for that person.

You're talking about. As you've said it, it did feel kind of conceptual, like yeah, there's, there's a, there's a, something to be found out there. And who knows what it is. Like almost like an ex on a treasure map versus like an identity in the, in the world. .

[:

But yeah. And, and so I think any kind of like reality that she may have been a person. especially as I started my search, I didn't think like I'm looking for a woman who's 16 years old with me. I'm like, I'm looking for my birth mom, like, and probably thought of her in my head, if anything, as the teenager, you know, that had me

yeah. But one really kind of pivotal part of. Of my childhood kind of where we moved was that my best friend and my sister's best friend. So they lived in the court behind us. They were both adoptees and had adopted siblings as well. Oh wow. And so, yeah. And so we grew up well, my parents, first of all, always told us we were adopted, you know, they had the little book they read with us about being chosen and all that.

l. I mean, we were both like [:

And so when people say you guys, aren't sisters, you don't even look alike and I'm like, oh, we're adopted. Like I was proud. And she's like, don't tell people that. Mm. So we all kind of had different, like my brother just didn't talk about it. My sister kind of, it was like a negative. And then but my best friend and I, I mean, it was like safe to talk to her about it.

Like we would talk about it all the time. And so really growing up, I would say I was closer to my best friend than my siblings, but I mean, that's changed over time. I just thought that was really cool. Like, I kind of see that as a divine move to place us all. You know, so we could kind of share that experience together.

Yeah.

[:

Heidi said after she was read the book about adoption when she was about five years old. The family didn't really talk about adoption anymore. She characterized herself as a lifelong inquisitive person. So she did the thing. So many kids do Snoop through her parents' papers in their office.

Heidi found her amended birth certificate. She said she was always curious about her origins and she was frequently told she resembled an actress

[:

And nobody knows that, you know, and I try and tell 'em and I mean, I don't, I don't know how other people viewed me, but

[:

Is that right?

Yes. Yes, exactly. Wow.

that's really fascinating. So you could feel yourself sort of going through life and just saying, let me just, let me not say anything.

[:

I literally would say nothing. I would in my head practice, like, [00:10:00] oh, I should say this right now. And I'm like, no, that sounds stupid. Don't say anything. And people are like, why do you, why don't you talk? Which of course makes it horribly worse for a shy person who's already self-conscious. Cause then they're like, you know, kind of shining the spotlight on.

Yeah. Okay. She's gonna say a word, they've . So they've pointed out

[:

[00:10:17] HEIDI: Yeah. And I think I'm, I think God, because I am. I so easily could have become like addicted I partied in high school, like all my friends did, you know depending on who you talk to, like, I felt like it was pretty normal level.

I was always very controlled about it, but when I had the little something to drink or something, then I started to let down my guard. So I just see, I could have easily gone down another path, which is interesting to me kind of jumping ahead a little bit is the whole, you know, nurture versus nature and genetics and addiction and all that.

rank a lot, so I don't know. [:

That I didn't follow that path. Yeah. And then, you know, meeting my birth mom yeah, I'm, I'm a lot more like her personality wise,

[:

She said, she always wondered about this person, but she never thought about searching and her parents never discouraged the search. Heidi arrived at the idea that it would be disrespectful to search on her own. She said sometimes she gets to talk to adoptive parents about adoption and she offers this advice

[:

it just, you know, manifests later as we all know, mm-hmm and so many people, but but I think, I mean, kind of timeline wise. So I graduated in high school in 1983. My parents divorced in 1976, which was a, a big transition for me, with my parents, not having to listen to them fight every night. It was actually a relief for me.

But at that point, you know, my mom had to work away from home and basically, you know, latchkey kid kind of thing. And wasn't like a terrible rebellious teenager, but definitely made a lot of bad choices and that whole you know, looking for love, not having any clue, what a boundary would be. And in our home too, I should add that, like, there was never the talk, you know, whether it was about the birds and the bees, or like.

to your body kind of stuff. [:

Until it smacks you into face.

Yeah. And you, yeah, you've made a mistake and you're like, oh, we never talked about this, but, and then also I think it's important to mention that I never heard anyone tell me they loved me until my first boyfriend when I was 16.

It just was not said in our house, like I knew they did, but also there wasn't like physical affection very much. Like it wasn't like, oh, you're home hug kind of stuff. And I, I think I always craved that. I think I like truth to be told. getting really real Kinda makes me emotional.

still kinda scared of it now.[:

yeah, I'm working, doing a lot of work on that, , and , the more that I learned about adoption and the, you know, the, the trauma and the primal wound and all of that, I yeah, it just a lot of things you're making sense now of, you know, no, you, weren't crazy, you know, as a child growing up and all the thoughts you had, it's like, it's real.

[:

Heidi knew that her mother loved her, believed in her, through all of her awkward shyness and always told her how beautiful she was. Heidi's mom helped her look ahead in life telling her she would reach her full potential in her thirties. Unfortunately, her mother died in 1990. When Heidi was 24 years old, she never got to experience Heidi as an adult.

. Or as a mother

[:

And again, that [00:15:00] was another divine thing because I literally had a, a one chance yeah, it was like, there was only one opportunity for that to happen and it happened. And so I think the combination of losing my adopted mom and becoming a mom started that the juices flowing of, okay. I just like the reality of, now I have this son and, oh my gosh, there's someone in the world that looks a little bit like me.

And so I think it just really kind of started really going at that point.

Yeah, it really does. It's it's remarkable when you produce another person. And as I've said before, my son, Seth was the first leaf on my family tree that I actually knew. Yeah. And he was just incredibly eye opening to have this little kid in front of me that we created be the first blood relative I had ever known my entire life.

e a very strong weirdness to [:

.

Yeah. I I also noticed, I, I parented out of complete fear of losing him. Like all the time, like every time he left the house, I'm like, he's never coming back. Like, I mean, I didn't say it out loud, cuz his dad and I separated after a few years, all my son was a few years old and every time he went to go stay at his dad's house, just like dread and I'm like like until I talked to him on the phone, I'm like, okay.

He's okay. So I don't know. I mean, I know all of that is based in, that fear of losing that one person,

[:

Of course today, you can go on social media and ask opinions for anything you want and get tens to thousands of answers, some supportive and some venomous. The clip her dad gave her was one highlighting and adoptees use of the sound decks reunion registry. Heidi and her father didn't discuss the column.

r search could possibly find [:

[00:18:01] HEIDI: But that was like the first kind of, oh my gosh, this could be a real thing that happens. And then I think I was at a job probably about 2009. And our receptionist there. We had shared that she was adopted to, so we kinda had that little bond, you know, to talk about. And then one day she like came in my office.

She's like, oh my gosh, I just got a call that someone is looking for their daughter, they put up for adoption and they think it's me. She's like, so they think it's my birth mom looking for me. I'm like, oh my gosh, that's so exciting. And she's like, yeah, it's for a TV show. And they went through this whole thing and it turned out not being a match, but then I think she ended up hiring the woman that did the TV show.

's like, yeah, the, the lady [:

[00:19:05] DAMON: Heidi noted the New York search professionals name, but didn't take action immediately. She started attending adoptee support groups and listening to other adoptees stories. One of the ladies in the group started talking about a searcher who specializes in New York adoption searches.

Heidi thought to herself, this can't be a coincidence and it wasn't. The searcher's name was Pamela Slayton. She achieved notoriety for her work on the Oprah Winfrey network and for some of her celebrity searches. Heidi red pamela's website which indicated pamela wouldn't charge an adoptee for their search unless she finds who they were looking for.

[:

And so I. I think her fee was $2,000 and I thought, okay, that's a lot of money, [00:20:00] but you know, this is a priceless situation. So I signed the contract with her and promptly got laid off for, oh, no, the

job.

Yeah. And so she's like, do you want me to postpone it? I'm like, Nope, let's just do it. And I think probably within two weeks, she called and left me a message and said, your search is complete.

I was just, I did not expect it to even happen or for it to happen that fast. And I kind of freaked out a little bit.

Mm-hmm So what, what did complete mean? What did she find?

So she found my birth mother and so we were on the phone for a while and she, she basically had my entire maternal family tree as far as My birth mother.

ister or your brother's wife.[:

Like, I didn't even know how she got it. Cuz of course the records were all sealed in New York at that time. And then she had all my, my birth mom's siblings name. So all these aunts and uncles and it was just surreal.

[:

During her search, Pamela vets, the relative she has located in a diplomatic way to make sure she's found the right family. With the list of names. Pamela provided Heidi went online, searching for anything she could find about her birth family, especially images of people who looked like herself. Heidi found her birth Mother's facebook

page

[:

I'm like, let me see your face. Like, cause I wanted to make sure it was her too. But yeah. I found, I, I Googled my brother's name and. I found him his very unusual name. So it was really clear that it was the right person. But when I found him, I found footage of him actually preaching over in Hungary.

And by that point in my life, I'd become a Christian. And so I'm like, oh my gosh, like my brother's a Christian and he's a pastor. I'm like, so I think from there it was just like all of the, oh my gosh, like this, this is me. These are my people. I mean, not in a way of like that. My, you know, family wasn't my people, but

n and you probably know, but [:

It wasn't that at all. Like even now people said, oh, you mean your real family? I'm like, oh, my real family. And my real parents are the people that raised me. You know, it's all the different terminologies for the adoptee conversation, but yeah, I was just like starting to see some of the things and I'm like, okay, this is making sense.

But I think definitely feeling like not having stuff in common, growing up, like my interests and everything. And then. even now to this day, I kind of feel like I'm in limbo. Like I don't fully feel part of my birth family. And I, I mean, I guess I still feel more part of my adopted family than my birth family, but it's still kind of the I don't even know what you would call it.

I dunno, I can't think of the word for it. I don't know if you can help me maybe know what I'm trying to say. The

[:

[00:24:00] HEIDI: thing. Yeah. Like don't still really don't belong somewhere.

[:

[00:24:18] HEIDI: Yeah. Well, it's funny because I was just gonna say, it's almost like, well, who am I really and I'm like, this is the name of the podcast.

[:

And as an adopted person, you're, you're one thing in one family, but then you're someone else in another family. And so the question is quite literally, who am I really? So that's, I'm glad that it resonates, cuz that's exactly how I got to it.

Heidi said the great thing about Pamela is she searches and coaches adoptees.

ave Heidi her birth mother's [:

Heidi made the call, but she got her birth. Mother's voicemail. She left the voicemail. She had rehearsed and hung up the phone. The seed planted for whatever was about to unfold. Heidi didn't hear anything back. She wondered if her birth mother thought the call was something fake and ignored it, or if she knew exactly who the caller was.

It was impossible to know what was going on in her birth. Mother's Pamela had told Heidi, try not to have expectations for what would happen, but it was hard not to imagine what was going on. One night heidi prayed to god for guidance before

going to bed

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[00:25:54] DAMON: Heidi woke up in the middle of that same night after dreaming, she had sent a Facebook friend request [00:26:00] to one of her birth. Mother's sisters, heidis aunt Chris. At 3:00 AM. Heidi woke up And actually sent a Facebook friend request to Chris, then went back to sleep.

Chris lives on the east coast, three hours ahead of heidi so when heidi woke up the next morning chris had already written back saying she got the friend request but she was unclear how

they knew each other

[:

And then this is all typing back and forth, but I can just imagine like her like typing really fast. And she said, she finally said, when were you born? and then I typed my birthdate and then she's like, oh my gosh. She's like, you're my sister's daughter. So that was the confirmation like that this is the right family.

la she's really good at what [:

And so when I first contacted her, she thought I was her daughter. Wow. And she was super excited.

Oh no, that's crazy.

Yeah. . Yeah. Wow. But so I said, you know, I'd left a message a couple months ago. I just, I don't know. I don't wanna like disturb her. Like I, I don't know. I don't wanna push myself, and then she's like, let me talk to her.

. Wow. so, [:

And obviously, I don't know. I know there's still a lot of it, you know, and maybe it's changed a little bit over the years, but. She was just in shock that I was trying to reach out. Cuz she was told this person will never know who you are. You will never know who they are. , this is it. lines drawn in the sand, move on.

Don't look back. Don't ever talk about it. Nobody needs to know. And so she was panicked I think. I can only imagine like just was in like the coping mechanism of like denial or whatever it is, you know, cuz I feel like how can you have a child and just like not, I mean you have to do something to cope with that, you know,

[:

So how did your conversation go?

[:

she has a low voice like mine, not the man's singing voice that you thought, but from my song. but yeah, very low [00:29:00] voice spoke very slowly, just like, oh my, oh my gosh, this person sounds like me. And it was just, I don't know, was, it's so hard to put words, you know? It was like just surreal.

Like in my head, I'm like, I'm talking to my birth mother, I'm talking to my birth mother, like trying to make it real, like, you know? Right. And like, I think I was kind of lightheaded a little bit probably and scared and wanted to like, not say the wrong thing. You know, I wanted her to like me and I wanted her to ask me all these questions and, you know, I think I've watched every single reunion show that's ever been on TV.

So. , obviously they air the most dramatic ones, you know, but I'm like, okay, this is just really like, kind of matter of fact, you know, it's, mm-hmm, , it's not like she's not crying saying my baby, you know, and she's not mad, like,

[:

[00:29:49] HEIDI: Yeah. I'm like, this seems just odd, you know? And yeah, so we talked for a while and well, first of all, whenever she talked about[00:30:00] me, it was the situation. So she's like, I haven't she's like, my kids don't know about the situation. And like a lot of people could have probably been really hurt by that, but I don't know.

I guess I have like empathy or something and maybe just, with some help from Pamela, like. Just understanding, you know, that it's not like an attack against me or doesn't have anything to do with my worth, but that's just how she thought of it. Yeah. And she told me that, you know, she got sent away, you know, like that book, the girls who, went away.

Right. Are you familiar with that book? Oh yeah. Yeah. It's

[:

[00:30:57] HEIDI: . Yeah. I just yeah, I don't know if I [00:31:00] read it after I met her. So I didn't really understand it going in. I mean, I'd seen movies and things like that, you know, she'd draw conclusions, but so she just, she told me that her family actually lived in Southern New York state. And her mom actually figured out that she was pregnant.

So she was 15 when she got pregnant and her mom figured it out somehow and they lived in a two bedroom trailer. Her dad had just left the family and her mom was left to raise. I think, I think seven siblings at the time. I don't know, one of them might have gone off to Vietnam already, but so there was no way that there was gonna be another baby added to the family.

understand situations mm-hmm [:

But I get really frustrated when I hear people talk about, , don't say you were put up for adoption, say, you know, your mother made a loving adoption plan for you. I'm like, but she didn't I'm like she didn't plan it. Wasn't like, oh, I think I'll, you know, have her and you know, it was not like some conscious decision and a plan.

It was you're caught pregnant and we are gonna send you away before anyone knows that you're pregnant. . And so in that tiny little trailer at that time, nobody knew, but her mom. and until I came back, so I was 45 by the time I talked to her I think out of all those siblings well, this is the crazy part about me connecting with my aunt, Chris.

nt, Chris, who had all these [:

And and she had shared, my mother had shared me during the conversation that she became a Christian in her twenties after she had me. So we kind of, you know, have the same faith. So I think I felt safer sharing it with her. Mm-hmm that it, that I wasn't just some strange person, but and she's like, That makes sense.

She's like, she's the only one that knew you existed. She's like, if you would've contacted any of my other siblings, they, they would've been like Nope, wrong family. So that's

[:

That is unbelievable. Yeah.

[:

, just, I mean, I just see like God's fingerprints over the whole thing. I mean, it was, besides it being surreal, I just like, had peace about the whole thing. And I am someone who suffered from depression and anxiety, my whole life . And just the fact that I just, I felt like I was just floating through the experience kind of just like [00:34:00] covered, you know, protected and had given like courage to do things.

I never thought that I could do.

And so then she shared with me that, when she was found pregnant, her mom moved their entire family up to Syracuse, like a few hours away. And then she got sent to Buffalo, which is a few hours, the other direction

And so it, like, I changed the trajectory of all of her siblings who were living at home. They all got transplanted, you know, a new city, you know, ended up getting married to people. And it it's just kind of humbling to think like I don't know. I mean, I know it happens to everybody in life, you know, where there's pivotal, pivotal moments, but so

[:

[00:34:44] HEIDI: Yes.

[:

It's amazing to think that the birth of one person can have such a domino effect on one family, but that's what adoption is. A, pregnancy produces a child and everyone alters their trajectory to accommodate "the situation". Heidi's birth mother told her husband about her prior pregnancy before they got married. She didn't want any secrets going into their marriage, but Heidi's birth mother had not revealed the story to her children. And she wasn't sure if she wanted to tell them.

Around this same time of the beginning of their reunion, Heidi was going to be a grandmother herself.

r Heidi's mother didn't want [:

Shortly thereafter, Heidi's birth mother called to say she had told her children about their older sister and she might expect a couple of calls from her siblings. Heidi's half-brother called right away

[:

She was probably showed the most excitement out of anybody in the family. You know, she's not even a blood relative. So once my birth mom told her children, she just, she didn't wanna tell anyone. And I, I don't think it was that she didn't wanna tell anyone.

She just didn't. She just not the she's very private. She's not the type to be like, oh, just wanna tell you I have a daughter, you know? And so , , she almost didn't mind if people found out, but she wasn't gonna go on sharing the information. Right. So my sister-in-law decided to be the spokesman and and she'd be like, why are we not talking about Heidi?

[:

There's an awkwardness because a whole lifetime has passed between them yet. There they are connected by blood relation.

Heidi said it can feel weird with her birth mom.

She's been to visit her birth mom, several times,

Including a visit for the funeral of the aunt Heidi's reunion specialist, pamela made the first connection with when she found Heidi's family. However Whitney would say she was glad Heidi would make the trip to see them, but made it clear. She and her husband don't travel. So she wouldn't be visiting Heidi at her home in Northern California.

A few months after Heidi's visit for the funeral, her birth mom called to say she and her husband

we're going to make the trip to California.

[:

Wow. Like it went from, you know, I'm not gonna tell anyone to you know, [00:38:00] we'll never get out there to them like coming. And she actually stayed in my house, her and my I never know what to call him, her husband, but I guess technically he's my stepfather. But you know, when you meet someone, when you're 45, it's hard to know.

But yeah, he's awesome. He's just received me just like his own and yeah, he's just amazed cuz. The first time he saw me, he is like , oh my gosh, you walked in and you're it was Whitney with blonde hair. Like, and that was, of course it's an adoptee. When anyone ever says you look like anyone, you're like, you know, keep telling me, keep telling me more. You're like, I just wanna be connected, you know, and recognized,

So much a lot more about that, please. .

Yeah. , and even like the very first moment we met, you know, we met alone at my aunt's house, just me and her and she just like knocked on the door and came in and there wasn't like this big dramatic scene. It was just like that same kind of dizzy, lightheaded, surreal feeling.

And let's see, she came out to California and oh, the second time that I went, no, it was the first time. I'm sorry. I had asked her about my birth father, cuz I didn't even know his name.

Cuz [:

And, and she was. She wasn't really asking for that. I mean, I showed her, but now I look back, she was probably just like in shock and for sure, I don't know. Yeah. Maybe didn't even think she had a right. I don't know. But and then I'm like, do you have any like high school yearbooks?

there's just like this thing,[:

But so we were just sitting there, you know, flipping pages of her yearbook and she like flips to one page and points at this guy and she's like, that's your father? And. It was like one of those movie moment kind of things. I'm like, oh my gosh. And as much as I kind of resemble my sister, like, I don't really see it as much.

And I don't think I look like my birth mom, hardly at all. Although people say we have the same eyes, but she's super petite. Like maybe five feet tall and I'm like five, five. So physically we look a lot different, but she pointed to that guy in the yearbook. I'm like, that is me as a man. or as a guy.

Oh, really? Like, yeah. I'm like, I look just like him.

[:

[00:41:09] HEIDI: And he asked me my birthdate and then he just started crying. He's like, honey, you're my daughter. And he was just like, kind of the response I thought might have come from my mother. Wow. He just lost it. And he said, I was just praying about you and your mother, like three days ago, you know, she was the love of my life.

And, you know, I lost, I lost both my girls, you know, and like, whoa, cuz she, when she pointed 'em out And they kind of have differing stories about what their relationship was like. He, I mean, he's using that, you know, love of my life kind of language. And she's like, he was a guy that I dated in high school, you know?

Wow. But not, and I think too, cuz she's, you know, out of respect for her husband she's, you know, and she doesn't wanna go back there and you

ont of your husband and say, [:

Yeah. And I don't think he, that would be super insensitive.

Yeah. I think he was way more, I, I don't know, you know, I wasn't there obviously well kind of in some ways, but but yeah, he, he. His life kind of went downhill after I was born. He was, he enlisted, went to Vietnam came back with PTSD, agent orange and all kinds of stuff and ended up marrying and having three other daughters.

And oddly enough, their, my youngest sister on his side as the same name as my birth name. So, I hear two different stories. He told me he was really upset that his wife picked the name, Jennifer and he's, and he tells me, he said, I already have my Jenny, out there somewhere. And I don't, there's always two sides to the story.

what you're gonna find, you [:

I'm just like them. And then there's other stuff where you're like, oh man, I'm just like them or I don't wanna be like that person. , so with him it's been really, really hard. He's just been way too much for me, like being the reserve person who he's like wanting me to call him dad and like I have my dad, you know?

. And he's like a hundred percent, I'm his daughter. And like, I mean, I've thought about it and I understand, he's been aware his whole, you know, since I've been born that I'm a person out there, like I was more of a real person and he was just like, barely an idea.

But it, he put a lot of pressure on me and, I started getting like, just wanting to kind of run away. I'm like, why did I do this? And yeah. So it's, I could talk for hours about that, but Hmm. Yeah. So now we're just kind of, I mean, I've gone through times where I haven't I've stopped speaking with him or cuz he was just, if I call him, he'd wanna talk all the time and it was just too much for me.

Yeah,[:

[00:44:19] DAMON: . Oh my gosh, Heidi. That's. That's quite a series of things to go through, especially from the perspective of having an expectation of what your birth mother was going to say, do how she would react and having it be flipped onto your birth father, whom you really hadn't thought about at all.

That's a fascinating sort of switch a route that I don't think a lot of people would expect. Right. That's it's

[:

Right. You know, sometimes they don't even know sometimes they know, but they have absolutely zero choice in the matter. And so he shared some things with me too. And I also found out. From both of them, but slightly different versions of the story that all my life I'm like, well, thank goodness. When I was born,

abortion was illegal. So I was never at risk. And then after finding them, I found out that that they were gonna go take her to get an illegal abortion. And I've heard two different stories of how it got stopped, but definitely it was confirmed that, , that was the initial plan. Wow. So that was very interesting and humbling and made me very grateful for my life.

[:

Yeah, I can imagine, let me ask you one final question. how do you feel now? You went from this child who was closed, you know, tightfisted as an infant, tight lip as [00:46:00] a, as a child, except in certain comfortable situations. Now you've, you know, had your own family, you've been through reunion and you've found some answers, like where are you now in terms of everything from comfort, with love, to dealing with anxiety and, and depression and

stuff.

[:

I'm way more confident, but still struggle a lot with insecurity. I. Struggle in the relationship zone. And I'm, I've been doing a lot of work recently about why I'm someone that like desperately wants love. [00:47:00] I've never been married before. I, I do have a son that's 31 and I have three, two, and, and almost 30 grandchild.

That'll be here soon. So I thank God for that. Congrats, but thank you. But there's still, yeah, my God. Yeah. I, I never pictured a traditional life for myself. Never pictured getting married, just didn't think I would ever get what normal people get for whatever reason. And I feel like just now, I mean, I just turned 57 and I'm just starting to like, be.

lies that we tell ourselves [:

And so I'm just been working on, okay, what is the truth? Who am I, and you know, what are the lies that I need to replace with the truth? and really what heals me the most, you know, is this podcast like this and being able to share like writing that song was the most amazing experience. And that was all stemmed from.

My adopted dad being very upset that I went on my search and not understanding mm-hmm and it became that thing that we couldn't talk about. So I had to, like, I literally hide that part, like not tell him when I was going to New York. And that's where that song came of. and I, I I mean, I was still like the little girl with him.

at he's done for me. And you [:

Yeah. But anyway, just, yeah, life's an amazing journey for sure.

[:

that's true. Yeah. And we all get through it differently. But I'm glad that you're finding your way. I, yeah, it does sound like it's tough to want love, but be so afraid of it and you know, not want to be tricked and, the list of fears that you went through.

There's a lot of challenge in that and I'm hopeful that you will find it cause there's some other, there's a lot of great people out there that could probably give you all the love that you want. So I'm hopeful that you'll find it.

r. Yeah. You know, so I feel [:

Yeah. I'm glad to hear that.

Well, Heidi, thank you so much for being here with me. This is, it's fascinating to hear these stories and yours is yet another one that sort of highlights what our expectations can be, what our challenges are and, and, you know, every piece in between. And I just really appreciate you opening up to share your story and let other adoptees here, how you felt.

I'm sure that this is gonna resonate with someone else.

[:

yeah, I hope so. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me really appreciate it.

[:

[00:50:36] HEIDI: find it? Okay. It's called looking for me and I was the co-writer.

I wrote the lyrics and Sean Farley wrote the music and produced it and sang, and it can be found on any music platform for instance, Spotify, apple music, and it's also on YouTube also. Great. So yeah, I hope people will listen and, and pass along and I hope it, it speaks to people's

hearts.

Very good. [:

Okay. Thank you. Take care. Bye-bye bye.

Closing

[:

heidi was likely feeling adoption trauma that she could not express. She always thought about her birth mother, conceptually, But meeting Whitney actually brought the idea of this fictitious person to life. Heidi's reunion with her birth mother and birth father. Weren't what she expected. Hoping her birth mother would be more emotional about her return and not expecting much from her birth father. Instead, she found a man who thought of himself as her father and a woman who is glad to know

quite as emotional about her [:

Adoption can have an impact on our romantic relationships too. And it sounds like in some way Heidi's life as an adoptee may have influenced her perception of what might happen to her in a relationship.

I hope at this stage of her life love will find Heidi because it sounds like she's opening the door.

If you would like to hear the full version of Heidi and Shawn's song looking for me, you can find the song wherever you stream your music.

I'm Damon Davis and I hope you've found something in Heidi's journey that inspired you. Validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivated you to have the strength along your journey to learn who am i really?